The employers’ body has urged Chinese companies working in Kenya to train in labour laws and improve cultural differences that hamper employers’ relationship with employees.
The Federation of Kenyan Employers (FKE) Executive Director Jacqueline Mugo said the training will help reduce conflicts between workers and Chinese employers in Kenya.
Ms Mugo spoke during the signing of an Memorandum of Mnderstanding (MoU) between FKE and the Kenya Overseas Chinese Association (Koca) on Friday in Mombasa.
“From the few Chinese employers we have directly interacted with over the past years, it has been evident that that the majority of Chinese companies in Kenya are not familiar with the Kenyan labour law, making it easy to violate the law without knowing it,” Mrs Mugo said.
“[The] most common types of labour dispute cases are salaries below the minimum-wage standards and unfair termination.”
Further, differences in language, religion and values contribute to misunderstandings between the Chinese employers and local employees, a move that FKE wants reversed.
“Due to the lack of knowledge of local labour laws and the understanding of the local staff, disputes between Chinese employers and local employees occur a lot,” said Ms Mugo.
“[The] FKE’s advice is that, Chinese companies should pay attention to the minimum wage, trade unions, dismissal procedures, holidays, housing, medical care and other benefits.”
She called for a partnership between FKE and the Chinese employers through Koca to help reduce and manage employment conflicts.
This, she said, would also help to improve the quality of work by Chinese companies in Kenya.
“We are here to offer Chinese organisations more information on immigration laws in Kenya specifically on work permits,” she said.
“[We] also guide them into understanding the different forms of employment contracts we have in Kenya to enable Chinese companies working in Kenya made informed decisions when recruiting locals and expatriates in businesses and how to acquire the right work permits for non-Kenyans, and give the right employments contracts to avoid labour-related disputes in your enterprises.”
“We encourage the Chinese companies who have not joined FKE membership to do so within the shortest time possible and benefit from many industrial and employment related services offered by our competent secretariat.”
Speaking during the event, the Chinese delegation led by the Koca chair Guo Wenchang said Chinese expats were willing to train and learn on local labour laws.
“Today we have signed an MoU that will facilitate Chinese companies to join FKE. This will help them have a better understanding of the Kenyan labour laws and cultural differences,” said Wenchang.